Jaffa, the other side of Tel Aviv

Henry Ford once said “History is Bunk.”  While I love reading history I understand what he was getting at.  Whose history you read can determine whose side you’re on.  Every side has its own history.  In the Balkans I have the experience to be able to interpret the different histories.  In the Middle East I’m still trying to figure it out.  Palestinians and Israelis read very different histories, and they portray different histories to their public monuments and museums.  In Jaffa the historical sign outside the museum reminds us of each time Jews were driven from the city but does … Continue reading Jaffa, the other side of Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv Bauhaus

Tel Aviv could not be more different than Jerusalem.  It talks like New York and looks like Miami Beach.  While it has more hustle than Jerusalem it was also more laid back.   In Tel Aviv, the Bistro where we ate lunch offered ham sandwiches (we went for the corned beef.).  We could also get a cheeseburger, not Kosher, and not Jerusalem.  With each delivery the waitress said “enjoy” just like in New York.   Tel Aviv has over 4000 Bauhaus school of architecture buildings, built by Jewish Socialists in the 1930s, and because of that, is a world heritage site. We … Continue reading Tel Aviv Bauhaus

The Original Olive Garden, Gethsemane, with very Old Trees

Many Holy Land sites are frauds, built after the fact; like the room sold to tourists as the “Upper Room” of the Last Supper but built in 1099 CE.  But the Garden of Gethsemane is the real thing.  Christ may or may not have prayed there, but  the Garden of Gethsemane has very old olive trees.  When Suzi and I visited the garden we were told the trees are 2000 years old.  Since then, carbon dating in 2012 marked them as only between 900 to 1000 years old.   DNA tests show the trees all came from a common parent.  They … Continue reading The Original Olive Garden, Gethsemane, with very Old Trees

Holy Land Kitsch

The Holy Land is mostly a fraud– a willing suspension of disbelief that allows you to believe that something happened at this exact spot and, therefore, this exact spot is holy. Stephen, one of the drivers who takes us to radio stations around the West Bank said “I hope you’re not Protestants because Protestants don’t seem to believe as much in these holy places.”  Then he pointed to a gate in the Old City wall and said “that’s where Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.” I said, “But that gate was built in the 16th century.” “Protestants!” But to make … Continue reading Holy Land Kitsch

Crucifixion and Resurrection in Jerusalem.

You need a lot of faith to visit holy sites in the Holy Land.  The “upper room” where Jerusalem tells you the Last Supper took place was built by crusaders in 1099.  The gate the tour guide tells you Jesus entered on Palm Sunday was built by Suleiman the Magnificent in the 1500s.  There are three sites that claim to be the Jesus baptism site.  There are at least two Mt. Sinai’s.  And so it is with the crucifixion and resurrection.  There are two sites claiming that honor in Jerusalem. You can see a real contradiction in styles when you … Continue reading Crucifixion and Resurrection in Jerusalem.